Hundreds of passengers faced being stranded overnight at London Stansted Airport after wintry weather plunged swathes of the UK into a deep freeze.
They faced delays and cancellations after the airport in Essex was forced to temporarily close its runway due to ice.
Up to 300 passengers were left waiting at the terminal to rebook their flights, a spokesperson for the airport said.
They said the passengers would be provided beds and blankets, while free food and drink had been given to delayed passengers throughout the day.
A lorry crash on the M1 closed all three southbound lanes and left traffic backed up in its wake, with a string of weather-related crashes scattered across the country.
‘Dangerous conditions’ warning as snow and ice hit the UK
Highways England also reported “severe conditions” in both directions on the A14 near Kettering, with motorists asked to avoid the area while all available resources were deployed to help move vehicles, some of which had been stuck for several hours, and clear snow from the carriageway.
Another HGV jack-knifed in heavy snow on the M5 in Gloucestershire, as heavy snowfall overnight into Wednesday affected western parts of central England.
The RAC said it saw a 15-20 per cent spike in call-outs compared with this time last year, including 12 relating to a pothole causing significant damage to vehicles on a section of the M25 around London.
RAC spokesman Pete Williams said the company expected to attend more than 9,000 breakdowns by the end of the day.
He said: “Our patrols are rescuing members who have run into difficulty in snow and ice which is causing treacherous driving conditions resulting in some minor accidents.
“We are also seeing a significant increase in pothole related damage, so punctures, wheel damage, steering and suspension problems.
“The toxic combination of high water levels, ice and snow is causing many road surfaces to crumble causing potholes to open up.